Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?


Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Getting calls from debt collectors is stressful. You may wonder, “Will they ever stop calling me?” The short answer is yes, debt collectors do eventually “give up” in most cases. However, it can take years before they stop contacting you. Let’s take a closer look at why debt collectors pursue debts, when they’re required to stop, and how you can get them to leave you alone faster.

Why Debt Collectors Keep Calling

Debt collectors make money by collecting on unpaid debts they’ve purchased from original creditors like credit card companies, hospitals, etc. The older and larger the debt, the less they likely paid for it. So even if you only owe a few hundred bucks, they stand to profit if they get you to pay. That’s why they’re so persistent!

Collectors also have a limited time to sue you to collect based on state laws called “statutes of limitations.” They want to collect or sue you before time runs out. The clock starts when you first miss a payment. In most states it’s between 3-6 years, but can be as long as 15 years for written contracts.

When Collectors Are Required To Stop Calling

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors can’t contact you unfairly, deceptively, or after you’ve asked them to stop. Specifically:

  • They must stop calling after you send a written “cease and desist” request
  • They can only call between 8am-9pm unless you agree otherwise
  • Collectors can’t harass, oppress, or abuse you when trying to collect

If collectors continue to call after you’ve sent a cease and desist letter, you can report them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or sue them. Many violations can result in collectors owing you $1,000+ in statutory damages.

How To Get Debt Collectors To Stop Calling Faster

While debt collectors have to stop calling eventually in most cases, here are some proven ways to get them off your back sooner:

Send a debt validation letter

Within 5 days of first contacting you, collectors must send a written “validation notice” explaining how much you owe, the creditor’s name, and your rights. Send back a debt validation letter demanding proof they own the debt. Many won’t have it and will leave you alone.

Negotiate a pay-for-delete

Offer to pay a reduced lump sum in exchange for the collector deleting the debt from your credit reports. Get any deal in writing first. Paying even a portion makes it look like you’re admitting it’s a valid debt, so get deletion agreed to upfront.

Claim identity theft

If the debt really isn’t yours, report identity theft to the FTC and CFPB. Send collectors a copy of the report. They must stop contacting you to verify the fraud claim, which often takes 30-90 days.

Wait out the statute of limitations

If the debt is old, collectors may give up calling as the statute of limitations runs out. However, they sometimes still try collecting or sue right before the time limit. So while waiting may stop calls eventually, proactively asserting your rights speeds things up.

What To Do If Sued By a Debt Collector

If you’re sued by a collector, be sure to respond within the required time frame, usually 20-30 days. You can choose to:

  • Negotiate a settlement – Offer to pay a lump sum that’s less than they’re suing for.
  • Claim expired statute of limitations – If the debt is too old, the court may dismiss the suit.
  • Argue lack of validation – The collector may not have sufficient proof you owe the amount claimed.
  • File bankruptcy – This legally discharges many types of old debt.

Be aware that if you lose, collectors can garnish your wages and put liens on your assets. Not responding to the lawsuit at all leads to an automatic default judgment against you. So while debt collectors do eventually “give up,” it’s better to take action to protect yourself sooner.

At Delancey Street, our financial experts can help you understand your rights and take control of debt collector harassment. Contact us today to reduce stress and improve your financial situation.

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